Steven Gerrard highlights referee penalty apology as Rangers lose lead to Aberdeen

Steven Gerrard revealed he received an apology from John Beaton after the referee failed to award Rangers a “blatant” penalty at Pittodrie.

The official spotted Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson’s foul on Alfredo Morelos late on in the 2-2 draw but decided it had taken place outside the Dons box and gave a free-kick.

It was another moment of frustration for Gerrard, who watched his side throw away a two-goal lead after strikes from Scott Arfield and Ryan Jack.

The spot-kick incident could have swung the match back in their favour but they now find themselves two points behind title rivals Celtic, who they play in Sunday’s Betfred Cup final.

“It’s 100 per cent a penalty,” said Gers boss Gerrard. “I’m surprised it’s not given as the referee is three yards away and looking right at it. He has seen it since and agrees it is a blatant penalty he has missed.

“I have to be very careful what I say, obviously. But I don’t think there will be a more disappointed person outside of Rangers tonight than John.

“He has just explained to me that he got it wrong, right in front of his eyes, and there is no excuse. There is nothing more I can say on it to be honest.

“Did he apologise? Yes. I went to see him.”

Gerrard insisted his team would not take their eye off the ball against the Dons with Sunday’s final looming.

“It’s a tough one,” said Gerrard. “We were dominant and controlling the game. I was so pleased with what I was seeing but we conceded a silly goal and it flipped the whole momentum of the game.

“We were too confident at 2-0 and Aberdeen went direct in the second half and we couldn’t handle the pressure.

“We need to manage games better, especially when you are away to your rivals.

“I never got the reaction I wanted in the second half. We turned the ball over and they continued to turn the heat up.

“We need to reset the mindset very quickly as it is a cup final against our rivals.”